John Cotten, III- Bef 1478
Name John Cotten Suffix III Gender Male Died bef. 1478 Person ID I3945 avefamily Last Modified 1 Jan 2011
Father John Cotten, II Mother Joan Fitzherbert, d. by 1450 Family ID F1165 Group Sheet | Family Chart
Family Unknown Unknown Last Modified 1 Jan 2011 Family ID F1163 Group Sheet | Family Chart
Research by Hikaru Kitabayashi, as of 2007
Richard Cotton did not live long. He was born around 1432, married Margaret Clerk in 1454, and his son Richard II was born in 1461. Like other members of his family, he was a Lancastrian who died fighting for a lost cause. As a result, neither his father nor his younger brother John III ever held a position in the county government again.
John III apparently did not survive his father who died in 1478, thus his life records have largely disappeared from view though those of his wife Joan Fitzherbert survive. Apparently, John II, not being confident the high childhood mortality rates of the 15th century would allow his grandson and infant heir, Richard II to survive, accepted his son John III (Richard II's uncle) getting married and starting a family which John did in an abundance which must have surprised him more than anyone else, as he and his wife had 16 children, of whom only two died in childhood. As he possessed the lordship of no lands, there was no inquisition post mortem for him or his wife which would have allowed earlier generations of Cotton genealogists to more easily straighten things out.
John III and Joan Fitzherbert were probably the ones who actually raised Richard II and excellent relations appear to have been maintained between these two branches of the family in the next generation and the generation after. For those interested in such things, Joan Fitzherbert brought a royal descent from King Henry II. Moreover, her Cotton children aggressively worked to improve their stations in life with two of her boys going to Eton, one of whom went on to get a doctor's degree from Oxford. Other sons became businessmen or got government related jobs. Her oldest son, John IV, married a very wealthy heiress and her eighth son apparently was the only one to stay at home with his mother. Her daughters all married into gentry families, surprisingly well, considering that they were not in a position to bring money or property into their marriages, unions which produced many people of note who literally changed the course of British history. A large part of the British aristocracy can, in fact, show a descent from this match of a highly obscure 15th century Cotton gentleman and his almost equally obscure Fitzherbert wife.
John Cotton III's youngest or second to the youngest son was Richard whom I will designate as Richard Cotton III. In the normal course of things, Richard Cotton III would not have had the money to marry, produce a family, and maintain his gentry status. However, the daughters of Alice Langham by her first husband, Thomas St. John, were the co-heiresses of their father. After John III and John II passed away, Richard III, being the baby, was still quite young and it is likely that he is the one who stayed with his mother. When his mother appears to have passed away several years afterwards, John IV and his wife Alice Langham must have felt a special responsibility for his upbringing, thus arranging a marriage for Richard III with Jane (or Joan) St. John, Alice Langham's daughter by her first husband and a minor co-heiress in her own right. Richard III also appears to be about the same age as his cousin Richard II's son Thomas III who, to help him out, gave him the use and profits for life of a manor belonging to him in Leicestershire for the life of Thomas III or that of that of Thomas III's wife, whichever lived the longest. Though Thomas III soon died, his young widow lived another generation, allowing Richard III and his wife to live the gentry life and to raise their children as such. It wasn't much but it allowed them to hang on to their status. Richard III's second wife was Alice Savage, apparently a granddaughter of the Sir John Savage who played an important role in the overthrow of King Richard III and the success of King Henry VII. Richard Cotton III had only one child by Alice Savage, a daughter, but this daughter's husband managed to acquire by purchase Richard Cotton III's lands shortly before his death. He had several sons by his Joan St. John, Humphrey, Nicholas and Francis.